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Amazon updates Kindle DX, drops price

The Kindle DX gets a graphite finish, a higher-contrast screen, and a price trim to $379 from $489. Will that help it survive in a post-iPad world?

The new, improved Kindle DX ships July 7 for $379. Amazon

With the arrival of the iPad in April, many tech pundits wrote off Amazon's similarly sized--and similarly priced--Kindle DX as a non-viable product. But almost three months after Apple launched its tablet, Amazon is making efforts to resuscitate the DX with a price cut to $379, a new graphite finish, and screen that offers higher contrast and darker fonts. It's available for preorder now and ships July 7.

The device still has "free" integrated 3G wireless connectivity from AT&T, and aside from the new "high-contrast E-ink screen," doesn't appear to add any additional hardware enhancements.

Here's a look at what Amazon's highlighting in the new Kindle DX:

  • The e-reader uses Amazon's new electronic ink display with "50 percent improved contrast for the clearest text and the sharpest images."
  • Amazon says the "Kindle DX's 9.7-inch diagonal e-ink screen is ideal for a broad range of reading material, including graphic-rich books, PDFs, newspapers, magazines, and blogs."
  • Amazon is touting how the DX's screen doesn't get washed out in direct sunlight like the iPad's screen does. "Unlike backlit computer or LCD screens, Kindle DX's screen looks and reads like real paper, with no glare. Read as easily in bright sunlight as in the living room."
  • With Amazon releasing its Android app a few days ago, the company is also highlighting how you can read Kindle books and sync your library across multiple devices, including the Kindle, Kindle DX, PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phone, and BlackBerry.

  • As with the Kindle, Amazon is calling the Kindle DX a global device, with 3G wireless coverage "at home or abroad in over 100 countries." (It doesn't mention that you will incur additional fees when buying books overseas).
  • Battery life for the new Kindle DX is rated at one week on a single charge with wireless on or two weeks with wireless turned off.

Obviously, this is something Amazon had to do to keep the DX relevant. With a price delta between it and the entry-level iPad now standing at $120, those considering a larger, dedicated e-reader might be tempted to opt for the DX. Still, its lack of versatility (no video, limited Web browser) and Amazon's price cut to its Kindle ($189), leave the DX as niche product. But at least the new look, improved pricing and screen contrast give it a better chance of survival in a post-iPad world.